Power Out of Control Essay

1597 Words7 Pages
Athol Fugard’s “‘Master Harold’ . . . and the boys” illustrates that power is an issue that has so many people playing a part. Hally’s relatively short visit to his parent’s shop reveals so many problems within society in South Africa and around the world that still exist today. Everything from the interactions between the characters, to the title of the play, and even their choices of conversation all show that the thing about power struggles is that everyone ends up damaged. Fugard presents several brief displays of the power struggles that affect each character and in turn exposes to the reader that many forms of power are integrated into society so invisibly that we rarely see such struggles, and they are so much more than a black and…show more content…
Hally feels powerless when has to transport his unconscious drunken father out of the hotel, but he does not even think about how embarrassing it could even be to Sam to need to have permission to come into a hotel because he is black. Willie is interesting in that he looks up, smiling, from the floor for a good portion of the play, as if he is obliviously happy with his place. In addition, his physical positioning mirrors his less powerful status when it comes to Hally, and even when it comes to Sam. He plays his role as someone who acts slave-like and naive in his illiteracy. But he does have power in some areas of his life, when it comes to he and Hilda, and he uses it. He does what he knows when he hits Hilda when he does not get what he wants from her. Hilda uses the power she has to abandon him. He does not understand the concept of moving someone versus motivating someone. Because he simply moves her, he made her do what he wanted for a while. But since he does not motivate her, she will not stay around. Sam tries to do a lot of good with Hally but even he is guilty of lording power over others as well. He teases Willie, “how’s your pillow with the quickstep?” (Fugard 1142) because he has slightly more power than Willie, it is acceptable for him to tease someone of the same race as he, and has fun with it while he can, until the next incident comes along and where he has a lower status.

More about Power Out of Control Essay

Open Document